When the curtain on male headship is pulled back, it shrinks from the light of logic and truth. Consider the most recent defense of male headship by John Piper. He offers three reasons why he believes it will endure, but in pulling the curtain back, we find each deeply flawed.
Paul’s words in 1 Cor 7:4 constitute Scripture’s only mention of the common Greek word for “authority” (exousia) in clear reference to husbands and wives. What does his bold statement mean in its biblical context, and what does it say about Christian mutuality in marriage and singleness today?
In her book, Worthy: Finding Yourself in a World Expecting Someone Else, Melanie Springer Mock critiques the Christian culture which labels people and puts them into boxes. She then affirms God’s heart for every individual by emphasizing how much he loves them, regardless of what the world might think. She shares many experiences from her own life, both painful and positive, that helped challenge her thinking.
When Mariana arrived in Costa Rica in 1984, she was in for a shock. She saw that people with physical limitations generally were given no responsibility for, or control over, their own lives. In some homes, people with physical limitations were kept “hidden away in a back room.” She immediately set out to help persons with physical limitations run their own lives, excel and even serve others. In the process, she said, “God has opened doors.”
It matters that Mary and Jesus are often inaccurately imaged with light skin in the West. It matters that pastors preach on Jacob, David, and Peter but not Rahab, Tamar, and Priscilla. And it matters that, Sunday after Sunday, women don’t see preachers who look like us in the pulpit.
One of the key issues faced by women in the church is the lack of provision for ongoing leadership development. Even in churches that espouse gender equality, women woefully lack leadership opportunities, especially on the platform.
Nancy Lammers Gross effectively uses the story of Miriam to establish a Biblical point of reference to encourage women preachers to use their full body instrument to its greatest capacity for the proclamation of the gospel. Additionally, to help readers more fully understand the complexities many women face in connecting to their own voice, Gross chronicles the stories of women with whom she worked. She then utilizes the final chapters of the book to walk the reader through exercises to use the full body instrument that God has given each one.
The patriarchal hierarchy imbedded in Confucianism breaks the original design of harmony through filial piety and results in male dominance. This oppressive tendency is in dire need of the healing power of the gospel seen in women’s role in New Testament household codes.